Monday, October 15, 2012


I've ranted enough about work this year. Now onto some fun work stuff.

The final year students of Bachelors of Architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, host a series of seminars every year. These seminars are public and are aimed at generating interest and discussion on contemporary architectural theory and practice.

Seminar Week is finally upon us and I was one of the few who volunteered to make the posters and invitations. A few discussions, many hours on adobe creative suite, a few less at Nehru Place, and here's the end product:

the poster

invitation (front)

invitation (back)

Also worked on the official blog. Had to make some more graphics for it. We chose two speech bubbles as our icon and the tagline (QUESTION. THINK. TALK.) because we wanted to emphasize that these seminars are about discussion.

This here the poster for our own seminar (Seminar 2/ By the People):

The idea was to make the poster represent a window into Shahjahanabad (or other such seemingly chaotic settlements). Rohan also worked on this brilliant video as an introduction to our seminar:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hello World!

Final year of architecture school is brutal.

Our main projects -Urban Design and Seminar- are both in large groups (four and five, respectively) and it's really, really hard to reach consensus on anything. I'm always working, staying over at someone or the other's place. Even when we work at my place, I'm still with these guys. 24x7. There's no real break. And when we all get frustrated and take some time off, we're definitely doing it at the expense of work. The schedule is grueling, one submission after another, with no space in between to contemplate on your design or discussions. Studio is majorly frustrating, and our faculty seems particularly unreceptive and uncompassionate.

I feel as if I'm always ranting/ complaining, whether to friends, family, and now, cyberspace. 

This can not be it.


Delhi Dallying made its first series of posters (see here) and organized its first walk. Yet to write about them.


What I've been reading:
Delhi: Lights, Shades and Shadows


Our seminar involves a detailed study of the mohallas of Shahjahanabad. We try to go every week and we've made some pretty good contacts in the old city. People are generally quite open and friendly; my (unvoiced) perception of an apathetic and too-fast-paced world is changing.

Reverting to cliche, the old city provides countless moments of pure aesthetic and experiential joy. I haven't captured many of them (they are so clear in my mind: surreal barber shops, the play of light and shadow, the setting sun, wind in my hair, the thrill of kites, the food), but some I share here. For some amazing photographs, visit here, here, and the end bits of here.


haveli khazanchi, off of dariba.

every corner chaiwallah 
the lime green building on ballimaran, a landmark for us

meena bazar


the sky on independence day


the mohalla of a dhobhi community in chatta shahji

my favourite find, jama masjid

printing press, chatta shahji

Friday, June 8, 2012

context and all that

Michael Bierut, over at his blog:
All of this is compounded by the fact that designers themselves have very little faith in context. We too want the quick hit, the clever idea that will sell itself in the meeting and, even better, jump off the table in design competitions. More than anything, we want to proffer the promise of control: the control of communication, the control of meaning. To admit the truth — that so much is out of our hands — marginalizes our power to the point where it seems positively self-destructive.
This was in respect to graphic and logo design, but is true EVERYWHERE. Whenever we do a new architectural design studio project of a sufficiently large scale, I'm always wondering - will our well meaning intentions ever become reality (assuming we're designing in a hypothetically real situation and all that)? When we did inclusive housing last semester the open-endedness of this question was a GREAT frustration. Nothing exists in isolation, and we can't always predict how people will react, respond and adapt- even the greatest social scientists aren't always right. All the reading I've been doing for our seminar on complex adaptive social systems has merely reinforced this belief.

God, designers have to think through so many possibilities- and industrial designers and architects probably have it worst, considering the shear scale of their products their decisions affect a ginormous number of people. Shit.

you get the point, don't you?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Poor tota

Injured parrot Prashant rescued from our office lawn. And no sooner had we secured it in the box, the local mongoose -who's always running around- came out of his hiding place and started sniffing around and even climbing into the box! Nature's cruel :(

Then we had to put the box higher up, out of reach.

10 minutes after I took these photos, Mansi came back from Green Park and decided to meet the tota. She opened the box, and the parrot just flew out! Yay. I'm trying not to think about it falling somewhere else and actually being eaten up.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

please type chandigarh

on the door of the Gandhi Bhavan auditorium, Punjab University campus.
I visited Chandigarh this past weekend. We stayed at the JW Marriot, which (however luxurious from the inside) was absolutely ugly from the outside and didn't respond to it's context at all. However, there was one redeeming feature:

all the signage was on metal panels with the Golden Ratio spirals!
also, for some reason, all the full stops were dropped/hanging. anyone know the logic (if any) behind this? 
You can see my other photographs here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

at work

Near the site for our new office, in SDA. 

I'm sure that these bugs got there because of the woodwork / carpentry at the site. The reason I'm sure is because, a week ago, I discovered one of these in my HAIR while on the way back to our current office. While in the car with my boss. As you can imagine, I screamed bloody murder.


(I tried to identify the species on the net, but I'm just way too disgusted by the few images I saw to continue.)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Extension Khirkhee

At Khirkhee village, as part of a street art festival:

DL 2686

For some reason I find this very cool: jugaadu reuse of the back of a truck.

What does this say about the residents of Shahpur Jat?

Also, what are the ladders doing there? I'm sure no one would waste away such good ladders...

Saturday, March 10, 2012


जल मत किश्तों में आई हूँ
at Kotla Mubarakpur
This last week there was a huge drum abandoned in the parking lot near the office. So weird; whose is it? Where did it come from? Where will it go? Why wouldn't the owner give it to the kabaadiwala and get some cash for it????????

You can't see it in these pictures, but the skin stretched across it still has a very hairy texture. 

On the net

Ankhen, 1968
I absolutely love this poster. The typography, and the eyes, all four of them.

The movie's on youtube, and I'm just starting to watch it. Hope the title sequence is as awesome as it seems!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

From the weight of great men

Steps up to the Diwan-i-Khass/ Khass Mahal at the Red Fort.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Garam Dharam, and his many other roles.

When I think of Dharmendra, I think of a faded B-grade star who insists on wearing crappy clothes, an action man performer with sons -and daughters- much more annoying than him (and an exceedingly talented nephew). I mostly wonder at his family situation: how did he manage two wives so successfully?

I don't think of Dharmendra as an actor. It's somehow easy to overlook Sholay and Chupke Chupke as one-offs and conclude that his many more He-Man movies better define him. Maybe this is because I grew up in the 90s, long past his time and even more significantly, right after he made all these terrible films in the late 70s and 80s.

I certainly didn't consider him handsome. Then I saw Bandini sometime in 2008 and was blown away. He was just so good looking (sigh) and he could act! Of course, I'd seen other movies in which he was brilliant, but I never really considered his brilliance. He was just Dharmendra- so firmly cast in his Action King mould in my mind for such performances to make a dent. In Bandini his looks (how shallow does that make me sound?) surprised me so much that it also sort of woke me up to his real talents.

I am sorry to say that I soon got over my epiphany, helped in part by his ridiculous guest roles and performances in recent films, and, somehow by association, the even more ludicrous films starring his offspring.

This excellent article by Mukul Kesavan (via Jaberwock) shook me back to my senses. Dharmendra might have been laughable in his roles later on, but there is no denying his acting ability. Or his looks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

the typewriter

I'm not sure of the protocol here, although I'm pretty sure I'm going against it. But I just couldn't resist! On a visit to a client's flat (which needs to be renovated from a nursery school to a family home), I discovered this:

From what Google tells me, this is a version of the first commercially successful typewriter, manufactured by the American firm of E. Remington and Sons. I wasn't able to pin down the exact model from the quick  photographs I took, the quality of which you must excuse; I only had my phone and I was all too worried about the clients returning and having to give an embarrassing explanation to be able to take my time.

From a great article on Remington Portables:
The Remington portable typewriters of the twenties and thirties are a familiar sight in antique shops and flea markets across the U.S. (not to mention eBay). Many of them are charming and attractive, and there are few collectors who don't have at least one. However, it is difficult to find information about these machines. They were produced in bewildering variety, with a wide range of names and minor variations. 
And this was just lying there, abandoned! I wish I had the guts to steal it -or even ask the clients about it. Maybe I can do that the next time I see them. But, ah, if only wishes were horses...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I've joined vir.mueller architects as a trainee.

They only use the font Helvetica.
(Actually, Swis721 LT, but that's what Helvetica is called on Windows)

link via Rohan Patankar
My parents went to the US for a conference, where they met people from all over the world, and exchanged gifts. My loot: two awesome Indonesian bookmarks representing the Hindu mythology characters Srikhandi and Rama.

Found online:
Currently reading What on Earth Evolved? 100 Species that changed the world by Christopher Lloyd.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Wikipedia is the only source of light in a "world without free knowledge".

I think this page/ announcement works so well; it needed to be simple and to the point. I love the extreme shadow and the soft black and the Times New Roman. This is nothing dramatic or radical or ohmygodshit!, but that's probably the reason for its success.

Of course, Wikipedia is not the only site protesting. But I do think that it does it more, well, elegantly, than the others.

On an aside: never realized how often I went to the Wiki page in a day; I just instinctively click on a link or google search result and then realize a split second later that it's been blacked out.